Avoiding Perfection

24 November 2008, by A. Cedilla

Two things to kick start this entry:

“100% of the shots you don’t take don’t go in.” — Wayne Gretzky
“You don’t have to get it right. You just have to get it going.” — Mike Litman

The quotes above cover the most vitals action-ideas for any entrepreneur. Perfectionism can wrap you in paralysis. Action is the antidote.

Perfectionism can stem from a perfectly reasonable impulse: to produce a quality product. It’s chasing the impossible aspect of “perfect” that makes the situation dysfunctional. Perfection means you can’t improve on it, and when you look closely enough at the work of human hands — there’s always something, you know?

It’s the kind of impulse that can make a person crazy by saying “It’s ok, but if I just tweak it just a little more here…” Then you can’t stop tweaking, so obsessed with the process you never make it to the part where you can share the results with people who can actually benefit from them.

And because getting it perfect is, by definition, impossible, making your work known turns into a mental minefield. Long-hidden messages blow up in your face the moment you dare to move.
– “Wait, it”s not finished yet!”
– “You know, there”s a section right there that needs a bit of polish…”
– “Oh please, like anyone would actually read this.”

So on and so forth, your inner critics grinning savagely as they nit-pick at your measly little efforts. But you can stop this.

One old saying that”s been floating around for years is that “Half of winning is just showing up! ”

What are the problems with not showing up?
No one remembers you. Brutal, but true.

Oh, you may be a memory in passing, but people have their own lives. You are a blip on most people’s screens. The only way to become a bigger blip is to show up.

You miss opportunities to announce and to sell. You miss opportunities to build on previous opportunities, and so forth. You miss chances to establish yourself as an expert in your chosen field.

Besides the inverse of the above, what advantages arise from just showing up and communicating to your list?

– You become more comfortable in communicating.
– You build momentum, so that coming up with ideas to communicate is easier.
– You have opportunities to answer the question, “What have you done for me lately.”
– You have a store of information which you can archive and then refer your subscribers.
Yes, the tragedies of not showing up are tremendous. Perfectionism can literally KILL your business and your dreams.


The benefits of “just showing up” are equally huge. Moreover, they can cascade and reinforce each other? So, how can you move yourself to “just show up?”

1 – Use the quotes at the beginning of this article to remind yourself that perfectionism is NOT a good compass to steer by.
2 – Write short pieces. You don’t have to write Gone With The Wind. People mainly want short pieces that deliver real information that they can use.
3 – Give yourself a schedule.? Stick to it.
4 – Ask for feedback on what you write. You may find that people like it, even though it’s not “perfect.”

And if they criticize your work, don’t take it as a personal attack but as honest indicators on where you can stand to refine your future efforts, in effect, you’ll be given free critiques on how to improve yourself.

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